Is your milk supply really low???
Many times, mothers fear that they do not have enough milk when they actually have plenty.
There are several "false alarms" that can cause concern for mothers in regards to their milk supplies. These include:
1. A baby who nurses very frequently and/or a baby who suddenly increases nursing frequency
Babies have a strong urge to suck, and enjoy meeting that need to suck by breastfeeding. Also, babies go through several growth spurts during the first months of life. During a growth spurt, baby will seem to nurse "all the time". Breastfeeding works on the principle of supply and demand. The more baby nurses, the more milk you will make. If you are concerned about your milk supply, the best way to increase your milk is to nurse baby more often.
2. A baby whose nursing habits, sleep patterns, or weight gain is different from other babies you know
Every baby is different. Many times, these patterns have very little to do with milk supply, and can be attributed to genetics and temperament.
3. Breasts that stop leaking, or suddenly feel softer than before
These changes are due to stabilization of post-partum hormones, and are not an indication that the milk is suddenly "gone".
4. Not feeling the let-down sensation
Many mothers stop feeling "let-down" as time goes on. Some mothers never feel it at all. This does not mean that they do not experience let-down. Watch your baby as she nurses. Do you see her little jaw moving? Do you hear swallowing sounds? This will let you know that your milk is letting-down and your baby is actively drinking.
5. A fussy baby
Many babies have a fussy time of day, where they need more nursing, holding, and comforting. If your baby seems to be fussy "all the time", there may be physical causes for your baby's fussiness, or it may be that your baby has a "high-need" temperament.
6. Your baby suddenly decreases her time at the breast
As babies get older, they can become quite efficient, taking in a full feeding in a few minutes time. As long as diaper output and weight gain are good, you can know that your baby is getting plenty to eat during these short nursing sessions.
7. You are unable to pump much milk
Pump output is a very poor indicator of milk supply. Many mothers with abundant milk supplies are never able to pump much. During the early months, it is perfectly normal to pump "only" 1-2 ounces per pumping session. Babies are much better at removing milk from the breast than even the best pumps are.
If your baby is showing signs of getting enough milk, then you have enough milk.
For more information go to our FAQ on How to Know Baby is Getting Enough Milk.